Board of Governors Member since 2020
Jeff Bleich was elected to the Amherst Board of Trustees in 2017. He currently serves as the Chief Legal Officer of Cruise LLC. He previously served as a Special Master for the U.S. Courts, arbitrator, and as the chair of the boards of PG&E Co. and Nuix USG, Inc. He formerly served as special counsel to President Obama in the White House, and as the 24th U.S. Ambassador to Australia from 2009 to 2013.
After receiving his B.A. in political science, magna cum laude, Bleich earned an M.P.P. from Harvard with highest honors in 1986, and a J.D. from the UC Berkeley School of Law with highest honors in 1989. At Berkeley, he served as editor-in-chief of the California Law Review. He clerked for Judge Abner Mikva on the D.C. Circuit and Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist on the U.S. Supreme Court, before clerking at the international tribunal in the Hague.
Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Bleich was a partner for 17 years at Munger, Tolles & Olson in San Francisco, where he handled many significant pro bono civil rights matters, and was recognized as one of the nation’s top lawyers. He holds, or has held, several other leadership positions, including as chair of the Fulbright Board, chair of the California State University Board of Trustees, president of the California State Bar, president of the Bar Association of San Francisco and
president of the Barristers Club of San Francisco. In 1998, he was appointed by President Clinton to serve as director of the White House Commission on Youth Violence following the tragic Columbine shootings.
In recognition of his service, Bleich has received some of the nation’s top honors, including the highest awards for a non-career ambassador by the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Director of National Intelligence. In 2009, the City of San Francisco named a day in his honor. Bleich holds honorary degrees from San Francisco State University, Griffith University, and Flinders University in Adelaide, which in 2019 named for him the Jeff Bleich Centre for U.S. Alliance Studies in Digital Technology, Security, and Governance.